Attack on US Embassy in Iraq; Pentagon sends troops to Middle East; Exercise of Russia’s Iskander system

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Protesters burn security post at U.S. Embassy in Iraq; Pentagon sending more troops to region

Protesters angry about U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and torched a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, setting off a confrontation with guards and prompting the United States to send additional troops to the Middle East.

The protests, led by Iranian-backed militias, posed a new foreign policy challenge for U.S. President Donald Trump, who faces re-election in 2020. He threatened to retaliate against Iran, but said later he does not want to go to war.

The State Department said diplomatic personnel inside were safe and there were no plans to evacuate them.

Embassy guards used stun grenades and tear gas to repel protesters, who stormed and burned the security post at the entrance but did not breach the main compound.

The Pentagon said that in addition to Marines sent to protect embassy personnel, about 750 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division were being sent to the Middle East and that additional troops were prepared to deploy over the next several days.

“This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 750 troops would initially be based out of Kuwait. The officials said that as many as 4,000 troops could be sent to the region in the coming days if needed.

More than 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq supporting local forces.

The unprecedented attack on an American diplomatic mission in Iraq marked a sharp escalation of the proxy conflict between the United States and Iran – both influential players in the country – and plunged U.S. relations with Iraq to their worst level in years.

Troops practice Iskander missile launches in southern Russia drills

Over 300 personnel of Russia’s Southern Military District held an exercise in North Ossetia to practice missile strike control, employing an Iskander tactical missile system, the District’s press office reported on Tuesday.

“Servicemen of the missile formation of the Southern Military District’s 58th all-arms army stationed in North Ossetia held a missile strike control exercise. The drill involved over 300 personnel and about 50 items of armament and military hardware, including an Iskander tactical missile system,” the press office said in a statement.

During the exercise, the troops practiced stealthily moving to designated positioning areas, deploying launchers and transporter-loaders and preparing data for strikes, after which they conducted electronic missile launches against a notional enemy’s vital facilities to different ranges, the statement says.

During the exercise, the personnel paid special attention to camouflaging combat vehicles and overcoming contaminated terrain, the press office specified.

Read more: Russia foiled terrorist attacks thanks to U.S.; Military support for general Haftar; Russia no trust in NATO

Read more: Iran and Iraq may respond to U.S. air strikes; Air strikes in Somalia; Turkey arrests 70 Islamic State suspects

Read more: U.S. air strikes over Iraq and Syria; Haftar’s air strike over Libya; Taliban’s key leader killed

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Editorial team
Source: Reuters, TASS

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